Monday, January 4, 2010
Gary's father, George, left his home early one morning for a dental appointment. The dentist's office called to say he never showed up. Eight hours later George arrived back home and couldn't remember where he had been all day. George said he knew he was supposed to be somewhere but couldn't remember where. George voluntarily gave up driving that day, he was 87 years of age.
My grandmother's memory started to fail her when she was 98, but a memory loss at that age was expected. She was still able to take care of herself and if she tried real hard she would eventually remember what she had temporarily forgotten. Gary's grandmother never forgot a thing, the day she died at 97 she was sharp as a tack as they say.
The first time I was confronted with Alzheimer's I was only 20. My boyfriend and I were visiting his grandfather. While my boyfriend was in the restroom, his grandfather leaned over to me and said, "That's a nice young man you're with, what's his name?" At first I thought he was kidding, then I realized he wasn't. He didn't remember who his own grandson was. Later I told my boyfriend what happened and he said his mother was trying to get his grandfather to stop driving to no avail.
After the missed dental appointment, Gary and I became closely involved in George's life. A short time later, George came to live with us and we cared for him till he passed away at 94. George had Dementia from small strokes in his brain. With a diagnosis of Dementia George's mind did not deteriorate as quickly as those with Alzheimer's, but this disease is just as challenging.
Having run out of clay and library books, quite by accident I picked up Still Alice at the grocery store yesterday. One way or the other Alzheimer's or Dementia will touch your life in some way if it hasn't already. Jeff Martin talks a little about this disease in his blog post today. Jeff's heading in a new clay direction and has some wonderful surfaces on his platters. Anyway, I highly recommend reading this book, even in retrospect, it has helped me. Comments and questions are welcome.